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.Looking to 2004
.WinXP Guide
.Albatron K8 Mobo
.XGI Volari Explained
.Aluminum Case
.Hometheatre LCD TV
.Colin's Weekly Tips

WinXP Tips and More Athlon64 Gear

Don't be fooled by the "Little Known Features of WindowsXP" title of our latest Beginners Guide. This is NOT an encyclopedic rundown of topics that will make CSPAN seem exciting. Rather, this Guide contains a concise overview of some of the lesser-known bits of WinXP that the pro's use. PCstats discusses about 10 pretty handy features that I'll bet you've wished for in the past, but never knew already existed. After all, how many of us actually have a printed manual to WindowsXP?

Learn how to disable those incredibly annoying Windows Messenger Service pop ups ads forever on page nine, or enable the "Hal 9000" voice narration on page eleven. Cool tips indeed. And since we're on the topic of Tips, be sure to scroll down to Colin's Weekly Tech Tip! PCstats very own Industry Insights column takes a sneak peek at the technology of 2004, and I can guarantee that faster speeds are the order of the day.

This weeks PCstats Newsletter is a big one, so I hope you'll take a few minutes to browse through the vast assortment of articles I've gathered. The Newsletter starts out with an Athlon64 K8T800 motherboard from Albatron which is definitely geared towards enthusiasts. Then, we move onto an article that looks at the new XGI videocard GPU which is on the cusp of release. Will XGI's Volari V8 Ultra give nvidia and ATI a run for their money this holiday season? The jury is still out, but more competition certainly benefits the consumer. Next up is a rather "unique" aluminum case you have to see to appreciate, and after that I play around with some rather posh Home Theatre equipment. Xmas is just around the corner, so when you're making that list, be sure to spell '40" LCD Widescreen HDTV'correctly. ;-)

Beginners Guides: Little Known Features of WindowsXP
Read it Now! Call it... Zen and the Art of WindowsXP Maintenance if you will.
There can be little doubt that Windows XP is Microsoft's best OS yet. While it has a few disadvantages in terms of unnecessary bloat, its balance of performance, stability and outward user-friendliness is hard to match. As WindowsXP is based on Microsoft's line of server operating systems, it is undoubtedly that which provides it with a rather pleasing lack of crashes. Compare WindowsXP to Windows 98, where the daily reboot has pretty much been accepted as a feature of the operating system, and you can see why it has been embraced so well. This same sever-OS-origin also provides XP with a deep layer of configurability. Not necessarily tweaks as such, but tricks to getting a grip on what is happening behind the scenes for those with an interest. In this PCstats Guide, we will explore some of the little-known features and abilities of Windows XP Home and Professional Editions, with an eye towards providing a better understanding of the capabilities of the operating system, and the options available to the user. Continue -- Click Here>>

Albatron K8X800 ProII Motherboard Review
Read it Now!

The AMD Athlon64 was probably one of the most anticipated processors in history. It has the potential to revolutionize the computing industry, and it marks one of the few times that AMD has really out done Intel big time. Now that the Athlon64 has finally been unveiled, manufacturers can strut their stuff, and earn themselves a name when it comes to 64-bit computing. As virtually none of the corporate computer makers (Dell, HP, Gateway) are selling Athlon64 systems yet, preferring instead to launch their systems when the Athlon64 CPU supply improves and WindowsXP 64-bit Edition is on the market, the field is wide open for mainboard manufacturers. A setback for AMD perhaps, but one in no way tied to any perceived lack demand for Athlon64 chips from consumers. Since its inception, Albatron has produced a good many enthusiast-friendly motherboards, and so many users have been patiently waiting to see what Albatron has to offer before jumping into an Athlon64 motherboard of their own. Continue -- Click Here>>

XGI Volari - Newest GPU on the Block
Read it Now! When XGI Technology announced the Volari line of graphics processors for the desktop and mobile market on September 15th, the collective response from the PC community was..."Wha...?" Closely followed by "who?" Not really surprising if you take things at face value, since in its current incarnation, XGI Technology has only been around since late May of 2003. Four months is not much time to put together a comprehensive line of graphics processor units. The truth, of course, is that XGI has been around in one incarnation or another for a fair bit longer than that, and hence there is a solid foundation for the products they are now selling. In this article, we will examine the company and their forthcoming products, and try to get a clearer picture of what exactly they are offering to the world of PC graphics. Who is XGI and why should you pay them close attention? Well, of course we do have the answer to that.... Continue -- Click Here>>

Update your PC at Windows Update
Search Dealtime
Super Micro

This week's tip deals with something I cannot stress enough! It is very important for you to keep your OS up to date in terms of patches! Whether your PC is used for word processing, gaming, or even if you're hosting a server, you owe it to yourself and the others around the web to make sure your OS is all patched up.

You see the problem is a hacker, or virus can use your computer as a drone to attack other sites (such as DoS attacks), or if you network is vulnerable, you could even come home to an erased hard drive.

Keeping Windows patches (and there are dozens of them every year) up to date is not hard, nor will it cost you any money. Simply go to and let it scan your system for any security holes. If you have none, congratulations, but I'd be willing to bet there are some of you out there who are extremely vulnerable.

It's a good idea to check out the Windows Update web site at least once a month as patches come out weekly if not daily. A quick way to do this in WindowsXP/2000/98SE is Start menu > Windows Update.

Raidmax Scorpio 868 Silver Aluminum Case

Remember back in the mid-80's, an animated show called Voltron? Well, every time I glance at the brilliantly-blue backlit "Z" on the front of the Raidmax Scorpio 868 case that is the first thing that pops into my head... The all-aluminum Scorpio 868 Silver has two important design features that should get the gamer in your family salivating; the first is the classic "Z" on the front 5.25" bay cover door, and the second is a pre-installed clear plastic window on the side, complete with an 80mm coloured-LED fan. A fashionable chromed fan grill covers the side intake fan, which also glows nicely in a darkened room. Continue -- Click Here>>

Samsung LTM405W Tantus 40" LCD Television Review
Read it Now!

Introduced late last year, the Samsung Tantus LTM405W flatscreen television literally blew the scale off the LCD TV industry and laid claim to the title of 'largest screen size' with ease. The aptly named Tantus measures 40" diagonally, making it currently the largest LCD HDTV compatible television on the market. The next closest LCD TV on the market is 37" across... but who really wants to watch a DVD on something that tiny? The thin and lightweight 40" Tantus LTM405W just screams to be wall mounted, and an optional steel wall bracket is available for just that purpose. Just in case you want to have a massive TV just like Ozzy! Continue -- Click Here>>

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PCstats Issue
Circulation: 259,930

Industry Insights

We're approaching the holiday season once again, so it's no surprise that hardware manufacturers are rushing shiny new processors and video cards out the door. At this point, it looks like AMD's Athlon 64 FX will be the fastest processor on the market come 2004; ATI looks to hold on to its advantage through the new year as well with its RADEON 9800 XT. This same time last year, we were looking at a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 and a RADEON 9700 Pro, so things haven't changed much.

What should we expect in 2005, though? I've been poking around for the past week for details on what you might expect for a "Dream PC" next year, and the prospects are exciting. Intel should be getting ready to roll out its Tejas core with a 1066MHz front side bus and DDR533 memory. Expect speeds in the 4GHz+ range and improvements to Hyper-Threading. Further, the new core is expected to include more L1 data cache. AMD plans to move to a 90nm manufacturing process late in 2004, at which point the San Diego core will emerge. It'll be identical to the Athlon 64 FX we know today, only without the registered DDR memory requirement.

Next week, I'll continue my 2005 Dream PC forecast with graphics and networking technologies. Until then, ciao!
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. C. Sun
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. C. Angelini

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